Rebus Series 3

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					"Rebus Set 3," as seen on BBC America, is newly-released. It was made by Britain's
Independent Television (ITV), although it's being seen on the BBC channel on these
shores. Like the others in this superb series, it's a police procedural excellently filmed in
Edinburgh, though not the bits of it with which tourists are familiar. Furthermore, scenes,
whether on the streets or in the police station, are crowded with people and cars, of
correct-looking vintage, rushing around. The people have also apparently been
encouraged to speak in the local dialect, which adds immeasurably to the engrossing
"foreign" flavor of these productions; although the dialog might be impenetrable to those
of us on these shores without the unadvertised subtitles thoughtfully provided by Acorn.
The series is, of course, based on the Inspector Rebus novels, also set in Edinburgh,
written by prize-winning, best selling Scottish author Ian Rankin. He's tipped by such of
his colleagues as best-selling American crime novelist James Ellroy, as the progenitor
and #1 practitioner of "tartan noir,"the Scottish adaptation of noir fiction: bloodier and
more bloody-minded than the usual, boasting that scorching Scottish humor.

This series features four more taut offerings from the hit British series of crime thrillers,
including "Resurrection Men," based on the Edgar-Award for Best Novel-winning book
of the same name; and "The Naming of the Dead," based on the book of the same name
that won the British Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year. Also"Knots and
Crosses," based on an earlier book, the first Rebus novel, published in 1987 to great
critical acclaim. And "The First Stone," apparently an original screenplay using Rankin's
characters.

These characters continue to be played by the excellent cast assembled for post-John
Hannah productions: admired television actor Ken Stott, man of a thousand faces, in the
title role, that of Detective Inspector Rebus. Claire Price as his earnest, ambitious partner
Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke. And Jennifer Black as Detective Chief
Superintendent Gillian Templer, Rebus's boss, and one of his many former lovers. Black's
character appears to have beefed-up parts in this series -- and good for her -- though it
looks to me as if she and Price are having trouble with the wardrobe department: the ones
they've been given are dowdy, and quite meager. It's a good thing they're not making
"Sex and the City."

"Resurrection Men" has been just about totally rewritten from the book; that's probably
just as well; as many people complained the latter was confusing. "The First Stone," an
original script, is a riveting, gutsy attack on the Church of Scotland. "The Naming of the
Dead" has also been largely rewritten from the book; also, undoubtedly, just as well, as
many readers complained about that book,too. Finally," Knots and Crosses" is excellently
done. It features actor Nicholas Farrell, who's virtually grown-up on TV and movie
screens before us, as its villain.

In "The First Stone," when Templer is asked how she sleeps at night, with the things she's
been forced to see as a cop, she answers, "a wee dram." If you're watching this exciting
series at night, you just might need similar help.

				
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posted:7/5/2010
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